As candidates for legislative positions jump into various races in Southern Illinois and around the state, state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, is still waiting to determine his next move.
McCarter, who is not running for re-election in 2018, has been recommended by Illinois Republican congressional members to be the next ambassador to Kenya. He has interviewed for the position, but the White House has yet to decide who it will nominate.
But he doesn’t rule out another run for Congress or even governor if he doesn’t get the ambassador assignment.
“The folks in Washington are taking a look at this right now; I have expressed my interest in taking the job if its offered to me, and the background I have with the country of Kenya, and in business and in politics and in providing aid for children and orphans and widows, all qualifies me for the job,” McCarter said. “I would look forward to accepting it, but I have to wait for the process to work its way out. I don’t have any confirmation now.”
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The White House did not respond to questions on a timeline for the nomination.
McCarter said he is sticking to his promise not to run for another term in the state Senate, but he’s keeping his option to make a run for Congress, and challenge U.S. Rep. John Shimkus again in the GOP primary for the 15th Congressional District. Shimkus defeated McCarter in the 2016 primary.
If he were to run for another office, he would need to start circulating petitions for nomination soon. He would need 1,373 nominating signatures to get on the ballot, according to the State Board of Elections.
Nominating petitions have to be filed between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4.
“I need three or four weeks to get my petitions,” McCarter said. “That’s kind of the timing of it.”
I want to serve people and I want to use the gifts and talents God’s given me to serve the most people possible and get the most done. My first choice here is to be ambassador because all of the things that I’ve done in my life has all culminated up to this opportunity. … If for any reason I’m not chosen, I’m going to look to serve somewhere else.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter
McCarter’s reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to sign House Bill 40 allowing Medicaid to pay for abortions left him and others saying Rauner should not run for re-election.
McCarter added he’s had numerous people ask him to consider a run for the governor’s office.
“My statement that he should not run for re-election has nothing to do with me and what my plans are,” McCarter said. “I believe he has betrayed in the greatest way the people that got him elected.”
When asked whether a gubernatorial run, or some other office, was an option for him, he said “I’m looking for my next assignment.”
“I want to serve people and I want to use the gifts and talents God’s given me to serve the most people possible and get the most done. My first choice here is to be ambassador because all of the things that I’ve done in my life has all culminated up to this opportunity. … If for any reason I’m not chosen, I’m going to look to serve somewhere else,” McCarter said.
“Here’s the thing. Just stepping forward to run in a race is one thing. Winning a race is another. I’m honored people think I would be a good governor, but you’ve got to win two big races here. You don’t get the privilege of getting anything done if you get second place. You just spent a lot of time and a lot of money, and you get nothing.”
McCarter said he is in the process of selling his business, Custom Product Innovations in Lebanon, and is planning to sell his house.
“I’m going to be in a position to go anywhere I need to go,” McCarter said. “I’m all in for this next assignment.”